The future of miRNAs in Prostate Cancer: Beyond the Abstract

Nowadays, novel clinical tests can be used in research and clinical diagnostic. Many progresses have been done in both; biomarkers such as, exosomes and new technologies as Next Generation Sequence (NGS) and novel isolation methods. These advances have improved our knowledge in the field. It has been described that many cancer cells secret small vesicles, known as exosomes (40–100 nm), containing cellular components such as proteins, RNA, DNA and small non-coding RNA (miRNAs) with a cellular function. Moreover, prostasomes as exosome, are microvesicles (50–500 nm) present in prostate secretions, produced by prostatic ductal epithelial cells and normal component of seminal fluid. 

The current review summarizes the diagnostic, prognostic utility and possible target and biological function of exosomal miRNAs found in liquid biopsies or cells of prostate cancer (PCa).

It is only in recent years that exosomal miRNAs have become part of the complex circuit of cell biology, revealing their key role as gene expression modulators. Currently, miRNAs have been identified through different approaches, such as experimental methods, computational approaches and analysis of genomic sequences. Exosomal miRNAs are considered in the scientific community a potential source of biomarkers for many diseases, and their expression profiles have been found to be tissue type-specific and frequently deregulated in prostate cancer. These unique characteristics (i.e. stability, tissue specificity, easily detected and manipulated) make exosomal miRNAs potential therapeutic targets for prostate cancer treatment. Circulating miRNAs are present in biological fluids such as plasma, serum, urine and saliva and could be a potential source of non-invasive biomarkers in PCa. 

In conclusion, the novel methods developed to isolate and purify exosomes allow to discover novel biomarkers for the early PCa diagnosis and prognosis. This improvement will provide an easy a reproducible technique for the work with miRNAs, thus, they could become the ideal option to personalized cancer patients treatment in the near future.

Written By: Anna Valentino, Pablo Reclusa, Christian Rolfo
Phase I-Early Clinical Trials Unit, Oncology Department, Antwerp University Hospital & Center for Oncological Research (CORE), Antwerp University, Antwerp, Belgium

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